Teacher (secondary teacher)

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Jane, 40s

Jane is a secondary teacher and the year 10 coordinator at Mentone Girls Grammar School. She has been a teacher for 25 years, and her desire to interact with others combined with her love of learning made teaching a particularly appealing option.

How did you get into teaching?

After Year 12, Jane completed a degree majoring in Economics and Politics, followed by a Diploma of Education and a series of teaching rounds (or placements).

Although the teaching rounds were incredibly difficult and demanding at times, Jane decided to persevere, hoping that things would get better in time. Now she's happy to have stuck with it. "Knowing you have been able to enrich someone's learning, and make a difference to their life is so rewarding."

Jane adds that building strong friendships with the students and being able to develop the curriculum in an interesting way is also very satisfying.

What does teaching involve?

Teaching is a job that entails constant change, learning and a lot of variety: "My work is multiskilled and multifaceted. In one day I play the role of parent, counsellor, disciplinarian, innovator, inventor, committee worker, facilitator, educator, curriculum planner, supervisor of yard duty, and of course, friend."

"You need to have a lot of energy when working with young people. You have to present information in a way that will keep their interest, and in ways that allow for a range of different learning styles and intelligence levels."

What are some of the pros and cons?

"Because the students are so interesting and lead such complex lives, they make teaching interesting. The things that go on inside and outside the classroom are often amusing, alarming, fun or plain tragic."

However, the job does have its down sides: "Unfortunately, teaching is one of the most undervalued professions. The hours we work are long, the pay isn't what it should be, and some of the tasks are really tedious, like report writing and corrections."

What about career opportunities?

Once qualified, you are able to move quite freely within the education system to find your niche. Jane explains that if you are interested in progressing further you can either pursue curriculum, where you'll be involved in the development of courses, or take on a pastoral role which involves dealing with both the emotional and academic lives of the students.

"Teaching could be really fulfilling for you if you are passionate about children, because the money and holidays sure aren't enough to keep you there!" says Jane wryly.

Teacher (high school - science and maths)